I love speedrunning. I love what it shows about the design and construction of a beloved game, the glitches that reveal the seams around walls and loading zones and every type of digital construct that makes a beloved game tick. The most popular speedgames, over the years, get broken further and further as weirder and more obscure glitches are found, by dedicated communities of people who are obsessed with finding them.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of the most famous speedgames, with a long and storied history of being broken by and glitched to hell by runners. But this past week, at Awesome Games Done Quick 2020, I saw something new. Something I have been grasping at straws to fully understand. I saw… what can only be described as speedrunner spellcasting. This was magic, done with computers and controllers.
Just after runner ZFG’s “100% No Source Requirement” run (which was rife with fun exploits in itself), glitch-hunter Glitchesandstuff showed off an absolutely WILD trick using controller input data and the Scarecrow’s song to… spawn doggies. To just… spawn cute puppies into the world. Rainbow/disco puppies, at that.
In my limited understanding, this is incredible. They are able to use controller inputs — the way any player interacts with the game — to spawn objects into the environment. That’s going into the realm of the developer, using the controller itself to mess with the code in a fairly direct way.
I know this certainly isn’t the only glitch that directly messes with a game’s code in order to produce some wild effects (even in the Zelda series, check out Linkus7’s awesome speedrun here, starting at 16:27:18), but there’s something about spawning new actors into a scene that feels especially like witchcraft.
— Games Done Quick (@GamesDoneQuick) January 9, 2020
It feels like creation, rather than simply manipulation.
The glitch setup begins here at 5:48:38, with the most exciting part of the build up and action occurring around 5:52. Glitchesandstuff explains the trick throughout. They do use a laptop and a rom of the game, but all the data they are popping in comes through as controller inputs. They use a standard pot lying around Goron City to start up the trick, and use… magic (programming) to use the data from the pot to write in the puppy code. That’s my name for it.
The glitch’s name (or maybe just the dog’s name?) is officially FrankerB, and I truly cannot wait to see what else the glitchhunters and runners can do in this game next.